As the undisputed pinnacle of the industry’s calendar, Milan Design Week serves as an indispensable platform for those standing at the vanguard of contemporary design to congregate and profit from a series of events, presentations and specially curated exhibitions. The central forum of the week takes the form of the prestigious Salone International del Mobile, a hub for the international cream of the scene’s crop to showcase their craft and even set the tone for the year to come.
Among the roster of international firms displaying at the fair, a quota that now comprises approximately 30% of participants, was Berlin based Uslu Airlines, a cosmetics brand heralded for its championing of a flawlessly natural aesthetic, aided by its idiosyncratic approach to the very technique of make-up application itself.
Though the presence of a cosmetics brand at the world’s most revered design fair may initially leave one scratching one’s head, any questions are immediately resolved on the discovery that joining Uslu Airlines in their Milanese debut is the inimitable Vitra, the Swiss design firm responsible for monuments of contemporary design such as the countlessly replicated Eames lounge chair.
In what can be read as an homage to the inspirational footprint of Vitra on modern visual practice, Uslu Airlines created an exclusive series of nail varnishes, each inspired by the iconic hues of Vitra’s four worlds of colour. Forest green, scarlet and cool pastel tones offer a new lens into the brand, proving the universal application of its visual philosophy through a seamless transition from their familiar sphere of interior design to a new frontier of cosmetics.
Over the course of the fair, guests were invited to pay a visit to the Vitra Colour Spa in central Milan, before choosing one of the four colour fields and having each nail painted in a different shade of the specially commissioned varnishes. While this may seem an unorthodox practice, more at home among the scene kids of mid-noughties suburban Britain than in a salon run in collaboration with one of the world’s most admired design firms, it only serves to prove the sheer versatility and innovative spirit that lies at the core of the two brands.
Fans of either brand may be slightly disappointed to discover that chances of snapping up any of the varnishes are slim, since the production run was extremely limited. However, that shouldn’t dissuade you from delving deeper in Uslu Airlines’ treasure trove, be that in person at their Torstraße 125 location, at one of their numerous worldwide stockists, or simply online.
All images via Prag Agency